July is National Anti-Boredom Month, and it’s pretty easy to see why. During July, most of the country is literally baking in the summer heat, which is usually oppressive enough to keep even the most avid outdoor enthusiasts firmly planted on the couch basking in the air conditioning. Plus, aside from Independence Day, there’s really just not a whole lot to do in the month of July. School is out, which means many sports and extracurricular activities are dormant–add it all up and that’s anywhere from four to 10 previously occupied hours now looking to be filled with…something. But that’s why we’re here today–to provide you with four ways to beat summer boredom!
- Get a job! Or volunteer, at least. Yes, there are child labor laws that apply–so, let’s stay on the right side of the law here. But many small businesses will take on younger teens to help out for the summer, so it’s worth checking out. Plus, neighbors are always looking for babysitting and pet-sitting help during the summer, which is perfect for tweens and younger teens. If your child is 16 or older, there are generally plenty of opportunities for (legal) summer work, so sit down with your teen and log onto Indeed.com or LinkedIn and start checking out part-time summer positions. A summer job not only gives kids plenty to do to stave off boredom, but it provides them with a sense of independence, real-life responsibilities, and the satisfaction of earning a paycheck for some summer spending.
Of course, money isn’t everything, and volunteering can serve many of the same purposes as a summer job–but it also comes with a sense of pride knowing that the time they’re spending helping others is truly making a difference. In fact, many Bridgeway Academy students make community service and volunteerism a regular part of their lives and love every second of it. Take your child around town or go online to look into local organizations, charities, places of worship, schools, and other groups that may be seeking summer volunteers. These activities not only help others, but they look great on transcripts, college applications, and resumes.
- Take up a new hobby. Playing a new video game probably doesn’t count. Nor does binge-watching a new series. Encourage your child to try something new–there are hundreds of choices. Jigsaw puzzles, creative writing, baking, cooking, pottery, poetry, collecting sports cards, sewing, crafting, painting, reading…the list is virtually endless. Of course, deciding what to take up may be the hardest part. So, have a chat with your child to figure out what might be of interest, how much money it might cost to pursue this new hobby (collecting vintage sports cars, while probably fun and time-consuming, may be out of many price ranges), and how you can help encourage it. Your child may just learn something new about themselves in the process…and so will you!
- Help out around the house. As a parent, you love this idea. Easier said than done, yes. But the bottom line is, things need to get done at home and you don’t have time to do everything! So, enlist the kids to help with a daily dose of chores. This accomplishes several things:
- It gives the kids something to do during the summer.
- It allows younger children who can’t get a paying job to experience the same responsibilities as those who work (feel free to pay them for the chores, however).
- You now have less to do! (this is probably worth it on its own)
- Your house is cleaner!
Rather than ambush your child with a giant list of things to do, work together to create a chore chart and discuss your expectations for each job and how often it needs to be done. And, of course, chores don’t have to be limited to cleaning–kids can take the dog for a walk, clean up the litter box, organize the pantry, separate the laundry, take out the trash, and anything else you don’t enjoy doing.
- Do some summer learning! Yes, we know what you’re thinking. We’ll wait for you to stop laughing before we explain. OK…it’s understandable if your first reaction was “yeah, right, that’ll go over well with my kid!” We get it. But the thing is, summer learning actually (wait for it…) can be fun!
We know that most reasonable adults aren’t going to dump a summer’s worth of assignments on their children and tell them to stay in their rooms until they’re done. But that’s what’s so great about learning today–there are so many fun ways to go about it! Learning doesn’t have to involve hours of studying and memorizing. It can be reading a new book, going to a zoo or aquarium to learn about animals, learning math from the back of a baseball card, visiting a museum for a history lesson, participating in a fun STEAM-related activity, and playing an educational game. Or using one of our Today’s Lessons to catch and learn about fireflies, make a homemade pizza, learn the science and aerodynamics behind baseball pitches, plant a garden, or understand how daylight changes with each season!
Yes, the middle of summer can feel like it drags for an eternity–especially when the temperature is pushing its way past 90. But use National Anti-Boredom Month as an inspiration for getting your kids to try something new, gain more responsibilities, and even earn some cash! Let us know how you fight off summer boredom in the comments below!